Things to Do in Porto, Portugal: A Travel Diary

May 17, 2018

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If you’re planning a trip to Portugal, your itinerary won’t be complete without a few days in Porto. Neighbourhoods carved into cliff-sides, port wineries by the dozen, colourful streets and cobblestone pathways, it’s a city straight out of a Harry Potter movie (only without the flying broomsticks… (although a day at the wineries may have you seeing just about anything).

With so many things to do in Porto (and I’m sure a fairly tight itinerary if you’re exploring the entire country), it’s hard to know what to do and see. Here is a list of the top things to do in Porto, Portugal!

Visit the famous bookstore, Livraria Lello

This is said to be the most beautiful bookstore in the world. Are you a Harry Potter fan? JK Rowling used it as inspiration as she put pen to paper dreaming up the Hogwarts Library. With spiral staircases, stained glass windows, and books on books on books, it’s easy to see why she was moved by this bookstore in Porto.

Harry Potter Library Porto

Have lunch and rosé at the Vogue Café in Infante Sagres Hotel

Did somebody say rosé all day? This picturesque hotel is worth exploring, even if you don’t have the budget to splurge on a room! Wander around and have lunch at the gorgeous Vogue Café.

Vogue Cafe Porto

Explore São Bento train station

One thing I LOVE about Europe is the beautiful train stations crawling with history. The architecture and attention to detail is breathtaking. The São Bento station is one of the most famous in Europe, and is a must see! If you’re taking the train to Porto, it might just be the first thing you cross off your list!
São Bento Train Station Porto

Watch the sunset

Porto has some of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve seen, as the light of the sun hits the cliff-sides perfectly while kissing the river below. There are a ton of great spots to take in the sunset. A few of my favourites are:

  • Miraduro da Vitoria
  • Dom Luis 1 Bridge (where the photo below was taken) 
  • Esplanada do Teleferico

Sunset in Porto

Self-guided Port Wineries

There are plenty of guided tours if you prefer to take the guess work out of the day. However, Porto is fairly small, so you will have no problem walking from winery to winery and doing tastings on your own. I loved doing this because it gave us the chance to go at our own pace and enjoy the scenery along the river as we walked from each tasting. When you arrive in Porto, make sure you grab a map. The most noteworthy wineries will be on there! I recommend walking over the bridge and wandering down the winding roads to the riverside. You can start at Calem, Porto’s most famous winery.

Walk around Praca da Ribeira

This is the oldest part of town where you’ll find those riverfront views and colourful houses on the water. There are plenty of restaurants, so grab a patio seat and watch the people go by.

There is a cool market across the street called Mercado de Bolhao to visit before or after lunch!

Praca da Ribeira

Self-guided Walking Tour

Spend time walking around! When it comes to things to do in Porto, one of my biggest recommendations is to just wander. Exploring on foot is the best way to see the area. Some points of interest you have to see while in Porto:

  • Palacio da Bolsa
  • Clerigos Church and Tower
  • Iglesia de los Camerlitas
  • Porto Cathedral

Things to do in Porto - Explore

Sightseeing boat tour

Another great way to learn more about the city is to take a boat tour through the harbour. You’ll get great views of the city on both sides and walk away with more of an understanding of Porto and it’s history. Some boats even drop you off at a winery, so you can kill two birds with one stone.

Eat! There are a ton of great restaurants in Porto. A few favourites:

Where to eat in Porto

I hope this post outlining my favourite things to do in Porto was helpful! Comment below if you have any questions! It is hands down one of my favourite spots in Europe!

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Things to do in Porto

 

 

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